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AAOS Releases List Of Tests, Procedures Commonly Ordered But Not Necessary

Wed, 09/11/2013 - 11:32am

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) today released a list of specific tests or procedures that are commonly ordered but not always necessary in orthopaedics as part of the Choosing Wisely campaign, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation. The list identifies five targeted, evidence-based recommendations that can support conversations between patients and physicians about what care is really necessary.

The Academy's list identified the following five recommendations:

  • Avoid performing routine post-operative deep vein thrombosis ultrasonography screening in patients who undergo elective hip or knee arthroplasty.
  • Don't use needle lavage to treat patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee for long-term relief.
  • Don't use glucosamine and chondroitin to treat patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • Don't use lateral wedge insoles to treat patients with symptomatic medial compartment osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • Don't use post-operative splinting of the wrist after carpal tunnel release for long-term relief.

"More than one in four Americans require medical attention due to a musculoskeletal condition and that number continues to grow," explained Joshua J. Jacobs, MD, AAOS president. "As orthopaedic surgeons, our duty to our patients is to restore mobility and improve their quality of life through evidence-based, high-quality treatment. Our participation in the Choosing Wisely campaign will help shape patient-physician dialogue, which as we all know is the cornerstone of optimal care. Identifying tests, procedures or treatments that show little to no value not only helps our patients by preventing unnecessary care, but will end up saving health care dollars."

The Academy's Choosing Wisely list was developed after months of careful consideration and review, using the most current evidence about management and treatment options. AAOS routinely develops evidence-based clinical guidelines and appropriate use criteria as valuable tools to advance the physician-patient communications process and enhance the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. The final topics selected for this campaign came out of those clinical practice guidelines.

"The Academy has shown tremendous leadership by releasing its list of tests and procedures they say are commonly done in orthopaedics, but aren't always necessary," said Richard J. Baron, MD, president and CEO of the ABIM Foundation. "The content of this list and all of the others developed through this effort are helping physicians and patients across the country engage in conversations about what care they need, and what we can do to reduce waste and overuse in our health care system."

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